The place of Lagos State as the commercial centre of Nigeria and the West Africa region no doubt confer definite tasks on the state. One of those tasks is the need to adopt more friendly environmental policies to tackle the issues of pollution, flood and also guarantee a healthy society amongst others.
To achieve this, the state government established Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) on the 1st of November, 1996, under LASEPA edict No.9 of 1996 to assist public and private organisations, industries, businesses and non-governmental organisations to attain compliance through outlined guidelines and standard.
As a regulatory body, the agency over the two decades of its existence has deployed creative means to address environmental challenges and also bequeath the people of the state, a clean and safe environment regardless of their status.
To sustain what the agency believed in over the years, the administration of Babajide Olusola Sanwo –Olu put in place zealous and ingenious hands capable of driving the vision of mitigating the adverse effects of pollution caused by several years of total neglect due to urbanisation and industrialisation.
Heading this team of resourceful personnel at LASEPA is a medical doctor by training but now a doctor of the environment by passion and zeal, Adedolapo Ayokunle Fasawe, who was appointed on the 19th of August, 2019 as the sixth and first female General Manager to be appointed in the 26 years of the agency’s existence.
Fasawe brought her expertise to bear in the management of the agency, by expanding the scope, mode of operation and significantly transformed LASEPA to a reputable regulatory body in the environment being under studies and replicated across the country and beyond.
It is interesting to note that LASEPA is committed to creating a healthy lifestyle in Lagos through developmental initiatives and partnerships with several strategic partners, including World Bank, Dangote, African Steel, UNIDO, US Mission, Oando, IHS Towers, the United Nations, Wema Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, amongst others, to secure funding, support, recognition for activities, solutions, and interventions that relevant and adaptable to the city’s unique environmental challenges.
Since Adedolapo Ayokunle Fasawe, assumed office as the General Manager of LASEPA, she has demonstrated doggedness, commitment and seamless delivery of her core mandates in addition to an all-inclusive style of managing resources of the agency.
Her background as a medical practitioners made it possible for her to achieve giant strides within a short time, as a matter of fact, it took her, just a short spate of time to diagnose the agency’s need and quickly fix them all through systematic positioning of the agency to the path of efficiency and professionalism through periodic capacity building for ranks and files of the agency.
However, the tenancy of the present General Manager witnessed several laudable and impactful projects. For instance, the agency, in August 2022 launched a project tagged Eko Clean Air initiative”at Itedo Community (Eti-Osa) to address air pollution, promote circular economy and also empower the vulnerable members of the society for a sustainable development.
These initiatives and other new ideas became masterstrokes and attracted holistic partnership with sustainability advocates as well as introduction and distribution of branded ‘switch to gas ‘cylinders, eco-friendly materials such as multiple use bottles/bags and rechargeable lamps .
These aimed to help in the reduction of air pollution, improve quality of life and further promote friendly lifestyle to households and communities respectively.
In all, there was adoption of more strong environmental policies such as banning of single use plastics/bags/amplifiers at motor parks, open places, free hearing test for the residents as well as the introduction of Trash for Cash.
The locals were encouraged to exchange their single use plastics, oily waste and electrical waste for cash reward, cowry card, health insurance or food produce. The focus is to prevent pollution, reduce indiscriminate dumping of waste in drains, water channels, and mitigate effect of climate change as well as empowering the venerable.
Communities like Itedo (Eti-Osa) Ibeshe (Ori- Ade), Ikorodu, Obalende and Elegbata (Lagos- Island) LCDAs have respectively benefited and to be replicated in all 57 LCDAs.
It could be recalled that single use plastics were banned within LASEPA premises, while symbolic presentation of reusable water bottles and multiple use bags were presented to all staff as a sustainable option to plastics and positioning of water dispensers and paper cups at strategic areas within agency facilities.
In order to drastically reduce the bureaucratic huddles of public service and further enhance effectively service delivery, LASEPA Boss increased the zonal offices from four to twenty to conform with the year 2023 vision of the agency to seamlessly reach out to its various publics within the nooks and crannies of the state in other to proffer solutions to myriad of challenges confronting the state.
The newly created zonal offices include Lekki, Mushin, Amuwo Odofin 1 &2, Surulere, Mainland, Ikorodu 1 & 2, others are Ojo, Oshodi-Isolo, Apapa 1 &2, Alimiosho 1, 2 &3, Agege, Badagry,Epe, Kosofe and Orile Igamu .
In 2020, the agency commissioned three developmental projects which include a mini effluent treatment plant (ETP) that has the capacity of treating wastewater and residual samples from industries that do not have access to effluent treatment plants or unable to meet the States acceptable standards.
The installation of six air quality control monitoring stations at Alausa, Lagos Island, Akoka, Ikorodu, Abesan Ipaja, and Lekki respectively to attain clean air and minimize pollution by comparing pollution levels to ambient air quality criteria.
There was also e-library and resource centre to facilitate the agency’s activities, detect plagiarism in technical reports and also open to research activities.
An addition giant feat recorded under Fasawe was the upgrading and certification of the seven individual laboratories to become the first ISO certified government- owned environmental Laboratory in Nigeria.
This move aimed to assist the state government with empirical data to formulate better informed policy for the benefit of the people and environment.
In the past four years the agency has been consistent in the promotion of socio and economic growth of the state. It has continued to win the confidence of the public through remarkable professional conducts and unflinching commitment to excellence.
To boost the revenue of the government and further promote transparency and accountability, the agency introduced e-payment and provision of point of sale (POS) machines to all zonal offices for ease of payment of environmental fines.
It is believed that the agency would continue to be dedicated to building a people that are bounded by a common goal of protecting the sanctity of the environment to attain a cleaner, safer and healthier environment for all.
It is worthy to note that the agency commemorates all recognised international environmental days, such as International Noise Awareness Day, international e-waste day, soil day Global Recycling Day, and World Environment Day, among others, with activities that benefit the public and promote positive environmental attitudes.
.Ajao, CPAO (LASEPA), wrote in from Lagos